Interview w/Jane and After Ellen.com
After a busy weekend at San Diego Comic Con 2010, Meltdown Comics hosted the official launch party forÂ Lady Robotika, the comic book created by Jane Wiedlin (guitarist for the legendary Go-Goâ€™s) and Bill Morrison (Eisner Award-winning creative behind The Simpsons and Futurama comics). The book’s protagonist â€” the lady herself â€” is the newest superhero of our universe, and Jane Wiedlin took some time to talk about the comic, the music it inspired and the future of the Go-Go’s.
AfterEllen.com: I just got done reading Lady Robotika it was so great amazing! I think youâ€™ve been really into comics for a long time â€” why did it take you so long to make a comic book yourself?
Jane Wiedlin: Actually, I’m fairly new to comics. I’ve been a big sci-fi nerd my whole life, but never got into comics as a kid because they were too quick. I’d read one in 10 minutes and feel cheated. It wasn’t untill I became friends with my writing partner, Bill Morrison, that I learned that the art in comics is super important â€” Iit’s not just the words! D’oh!
Bill also introduced me to graphic novels, which I now am obsessed with.
AE: How did you and Bill Morrison meet?
JW: I was at a comic convention â€” Super-Con in San Jose â€” several years ago, and Bill was assigned to moderate the talk I gave there. I’d been going to conventions for a while â€” not as a comic book fan, but either as a celebrity to sign autographs or as a sci-fi fan. Bill and I are the same age, and have a lot in common, and we became very close very quickly. We like to say we are lovers without benefits.
AE: I love how real Lady Robotika felt. When I finished it my first thought was, “That could totally happen.” I could also really hear your voice through it. Could this be classified as autobiographical with a fantasy, sci-fi twist?
JW: I keep telling people that it’s my autobiography. We try to infuse as much of me and my real life into the story as possible. As for the alien abduction, well, you just never know, do you?
AE: Have you ever though of writing a real autobiography? Do you feel that there are untold Jane stories or Go Go’s stories that you want to reveal? Or is Lady Robotika the closest you are getting to an autobiography?
JW: Of course, as a writer, I am always thinking about my next project, and certainly, an autobiography isn’t out of the question. My biggest stumbling block is my incredibly deficient memory. I’ve forgotten more of my life than I remember, so that could prove difficult for recounting it.
AE: There is a page where you say that you are known for being a little kinky â€” is this a reference to your involvement in the fetish community?
JW: Yes, I am a lifelong perv, who only “came out of the kink-closet” about 15 years ago. Up until then, I didn’t even realize that plenty of people are pervy, loud and proud. I was very lucky to meet a remarkable woman â€” a professional dominatrix â€” who became one of my dearest friends.
AE: I thought I read somewhere that you are bisexual but I never thought to ask you directly. Are you a proud representative of the B in the LGBT community?
JW: I’ve never been one to label myself. I am full of dualities and like to think of myself as ultra-open when it comes to all things. Having said that, I realized many years ago that people need to hear that there are plenty of perfectly nice citizens of Planet Earth that don’t fall into the strictly-heterosexual category.
I have had sex with men and women, and although I tend to be a serial monogamist with men, I feel no shame in admitting to have had wonderful experiences with both sexes. “Bisexuality” is such a loaded term. There are a lot of people with pretty negative feelings about those of us that refuse to choose one team! My whole life is riddled with other examples of being a dual-natured person, from my being ambidextrous, to my political views (progressive but very individual), to being an agnostic, to my BDSM identity (switch). And no, I don’t feel a bit confused! I am totally OK with myself.
AE: Are all the characters in the comic real life people you know?
JW: We based a lot of the characters on friends or famous people. E’death, the sadistic prison warden, is an homage to my dear, late friend Edith, who was a pro-domme. Emperor Yecchh is based on Kim Jong Il. Obviously, these real people were inspirations and we are not trying to copy them exactly.
AE: Who is Jasper? He looks a lot like your real boyfriend.
JW: Jasper is indeed based on my sweetheart, Travis. I gave Travis the nickname Jasper three years ago and thought it would be funny to call him that in the comic. Like I said earlier, we are trying to put as much of my personality and my real life into the story as we can. Bill and I co-write everything, and though I don’t do the artwork â€” I’m hopeless at drawing â€” I oversee the art in addition to co-writing the story, and help guide Bill’s artist friends so that the vision is both of ours.
AE: What is your favorite comic book?
JW: Right now I am enjoying a series called Ex Machina. It is really original and smart. It’s been going for a while now, so instead of buying individual comics, I’ve been getting the graphic novels, which combine five episodes each.
AE: Is there anything about Lady Roboitika that you can share with us as far as her powers, since we don’t see it in Issue 1?
JW: There is a lot of story left to unfold in the first six issues of Lady Robotika, which is how long it will take to her origins. Because she was experimented upon, and injected with alien nanite technology, she is about to discover that she is far more, and far more potentially powerful than a human. I hope people will read the comics to find out what happens next! How’s that for a cliffhanger?
AE: I went to your launch party at Meltdown Comics and you played some songs two of my favorite GoGos tunes and two original Lady Robotika songs. How do these songs fit into the comics? Why did you write them ?
JW: I have a full album of Lady Robotika-inspired songs written. Our plan is to release the music once we get the first six episodes of Lady Robotika out. We will bind the six issues into one fabulous graphic novel, and do an ultra-deluxe package that will include the music.
I also have a fantastic full-length musical called Lady Robotika: A Space Opera that is ready to go. I just need a theater angel to get it produced.
AE: Will you be recording songs with this Lady Robotika band?
JW: Yes, the band that played at the launch party is going to be the Lady Robotika band, with the addition of my friend Gabby La La.
AE:What is all this about a farewell tour? Are the Go-Goâ€™s actually “breaking up” ? Is the break up postponed since you were unable to tour?
JW: Belinda told us she wanted to move on and not be in the band anymore. The Go-Go’s had to make a decision, and ultimately decided not to carry on without her. I love Belinda, but I adore being a Go-Go and would have preferred to continue on till they pried my cold dead fingers off my guitar.
When you are in a band, decisions are made that don’t always reflect your desires as an individual, and that is just life. I have no idea what our state is right now, because we don’t know if the farewell tour is going to be re-scheduled or not. That is something I have zero control over.
AE: I noticed on your website that you are ordained and can marry people. Then I met a great couple (Amanda Deibert and Cat Staggs) who said you will be marrying them next year. Do you think same sex marriage will be legal by then?
[Ed. note: this interview was conducted before Prop.8 was ruled unconstitutional on Aug. 4, 2010.]
JW: I became a minister after same-sex marriage became legal in California. I did it because I like public speaking and parties, and being a non-denominational minister who officiates weddings sounded like a job I would excel at.
Then, stupid Prop. H8 happened. I want to marry all my friends and fans, no matter what their orientation, but I especially want to officiate unions in the LGBT community. I definitely think same sex marriage will be legal very soon. No one with an intelligent mind can defend denying equal rights to all people; it’s just common sense.